NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The latest round of appeal hearings in the NFL's bounty investigation have concluded with appearances by former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Vilma says his appearance went well but declined further comment citing a request for confidentiality by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who has been appointed to oversee the proceedings.
A person familiar with the situation says Tagliabue expects to rule by early next week, meaning Vilma and Saints defensive end Will Smith expect to play Sunday against the New York Giants. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of Tagliabue's directive.
Smith, suspended four games, and Vilma, suspended for the entire current season, are playing while their appeals are pending.